Turkey wants to be the first to develop combat drone carrier ship

While the TCG Anadolu assault aircraft carrier will soon be transferred to the Turkish Navy, Ankara seems increasingly convinced by the concept of a combat drone carrier ship, which, according to Turkish officials, represents an ongoing evolution of the aircraft carriers in the years and decades to come. For this, Ankara would work since the launch of the Anadolu, on the design of a new ship specially designed for this purpose, and which will be able to implement combat drones propelled by propeller like the TB2 Bayraktar which meets a real success on the international scene for several months, the future TB3 equipped with folding wings, precisely to be used on board a ship of this type, and other heavier models equipped with turbojets.

According to Ismail Demir's statements, the head of the Presidency of Defense Industries, to the Anadolu news agency, the Spanish authorities have shown an interest in this project, knowing that the TCG Anadolu was designed in cooperation with the Spanish design offices of Navantia on the base of the aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I of the Spanish Navy. On the other hand, according to this same interview, it seems that the hypothesis of equipping the TCG Anadolu with combat drones, as a moment mentioned by the Turkish officials, is now moving away, and that the ship, deprived of the F-35B that 'he was originally supposed to implement before lhe American Congress definitively excludes Turkey from the program and cancels its order for 100 aircraft following the commissioning of the S-400s received from Russia, is intended to be confined to the functions of assault helicopter carriers.

tcg anadolu en gec 2022 sonunda hizmete girecek Army Budgets and Defense Efforts | Military Naval Constructions | International technological cooperation Defense
The TCG Anadolu will join the Turkish Navy in 2022. On the other hand, it seems that it will only be equipped with helicopters, and not drones as a moment mentioned by the Turkish authorities

However, these statements should be taken with caution. Indeed, Spain, like all European countries, is now more circumspect about the assistance it could provide to Turkish defense industries, since the introduction of European sanctions following the operation launched by Ankara in northern Turkey in 2019 against the Syrian Kurds, allies of the Europeans against the Islamic State. In addition, the 2020 demonstrations of forces in the Aegean Sea against Cyprus and Greece have left deep marks in the cooperation between European countries and Turkey. In addition, on several occasions, the Turkish authorities announced partnerships and cooperation when they were only preliminary discussions. This was particularly the case following the meeting between V. Putin and RT Erdogan in Sochi in October 2021, when the Turkish president announced Turkish-Russian cooperation in the field of aircraft engines and submarines, which the Kremlin immediately denied it.

Above all, the Turkish economy, and therefore the tax revenues on which the country's government can build its defense effort, is at its worst. Thus, following a televised speech by the Turkish president on November 15, speech during which RT Erdogan questioned the Europeans and the West about the difficulties encountered by the country, and promised firm responses from his government, the Turkish lira fell by nearly 20% on financial markets, from 88 euros per 1000 pounds to less than 72 in 5 days. In total, the country's currency has devalued more than 40% of its value in one year against the euro, and almost 75% of its value in 5 years. Similarly, after rapid growth between 1995 and 2012, from $ 130 billion to $ 950 billion, Turkish GDP also collapsed between 2013 and today, falling to $ 720 billion in 2020, i.e. its level of 2008, and the outlook for the future is not very favorable. Under these conditions, Turkey's defense investment ambitions could well be revised downwards.

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After the success of the TB2 Bayraktar, the Turkish combat drone industry has great ambitions, in particular for the development of fast drones equipped with turbojets.

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  1. […] For Selçuk Bayraktar, president of the young company, also son-in-law of President RT Erdogan and above all a graduate of MIT, there was however no question of being satisfied with this success. While the TB2 multiplied operational and commercial successes, the company developed a new, heavier, twin-engine combat drone, the Akinci, a device 6 times heavier than the TB2 with an empty weight of 4500 kg, a capacity 1.500 kg payload and 24-hour autonomy, capable of playing in the same court as the famous American MQ-9 Reaper which remains, to this day, the most widely used MALE drone in the Western armed forces. The young company was also called to the rescue by the Turkish power to find an alternative to the eviction of Ankara from the F-35 program, and in particular to replace the F-35Bs which were to arm the brand new Anadolu aircraft carrier and her upcoming sister ship. Obviously, Turkish engineers wasted little time in meeting the needs of their ruler's father-in-law. Indeed, on the occasion of the Teknofest Black Sea, Baykar presented the stealth combat drone Kizilelma (in main illustration), a turboprop autonomous device intended to operate from the aircraft carriers of the Turkish Navy. […]

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